Activision must have been pleased with last year's Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, as they've given internal studio developer Beenox the reigns to another game in the Spider-Man franchise: Spider-Man: Edge of Time. Unlike the previous game, Edge of Time only features two characters instead of the original's four, which at first glance might appear to be a step backwards. From what we could see in a closed-doors session at E3, however, it appears this might just be the right step for the franchise.
Edge of Time revolves around two characters, Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099, both of which who featured in the previous title. This time around, the two are connected via a time travel plot which involves evil scientist Walker Sloan traveling back into Amazing's era to dispose of Amazing and rewrite the timeline as the world knows it. The demo takes place inside the Alchemax factory, which was featured in previous trailers released prior to E3. Although the exploration takes place inside an inside environment, Alchemax features a number of different areas spanning the expected gray industrial walls to luscious jungle environments, with more likely to be released as we get closer to the game's release.
Each of the two Spidey characters, which can only be played one at a time, as expected play differently from each other. Amazing plays very methodically, utilizing his speed and webs to wrap up multiple enemies at once. 2099, on the other hand, plays more like a brawler and has the ability to create a ghost decoy that can fool other enemies, thus allowing him to sneak up behind them and take them out.
What both characters share, however, is those unique Spidey-specific abilities that fans have come to know and love. The demo area we were shown featured a number of puzzles which required the player to vertically climb walls and move about the ceilings while evading various traps that lined each room. Expectedly, just having traps and enemies to fight would become rather drab and boring, so Edge of Time features a system where the two Spider-Men are connected to each other telepathically. Beenox uses this fact to implement a cause-and-effect based system, in which the player's actions in one timeline will directly affect the other.
In one area Amazing had to race to shut off gas values which were leaking fumes in the future after an enemy destroyed the tubes keeping them covered. As Amazing got closer to the valves platforms would appear and disappear as the timelines began to become more affected. According to the developers there will be some points in the game where your actions will change the story, although they weren't able to name any specifics yet. What we saw in the demo was pretty basic, but it does lay the foundation for a unique and impressive new feature if Beenox can fully flesh it out.
The latter-half of the demo featured character Anti-Venom, who has been featured in previous trailers for the game. We were able to get a sneak peak at the boss fight at the end of the level, which featured a multitude of different forms, each of which required different approaches. Beenox hasn't publicly nailed down any other enemies or other characters that will be appearing in the game, although they did acknowledge that fans of the Spider-Man lore won't be disappointed.
Activision and Beenox have Spider-Man: Edge of Time set for a Fall 2011 release for the PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS.